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An American Crime (2007)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 21,734 users  
Reviews: 110 user | 52 critic

The true story of suburban housewife Gertrude Baniszewski, who kept a teenage girl locked in the basement of her Indiana home during the 1960s.

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Title: An American Crime (2007)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Shirley Baniszewski (as Hannah Leigh Dworkin)
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Reverend Bill Collier
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Marie Baniszewski
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Hope Orbach
Patricia Place ...
Mrs. Doyle
Calvin Keet ...
Mr. Doyle
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Storyline

Based on a true story that shocked the nation in 1965, the film recounts one of the most shocking crimes ever committed against a single victim. Sylvia and Jennie Fae Likens, the two daughters of traveling carnival workers are left for an extended stay at the Indianapolis home of single mother Gertrude Baniszewski and her six children. Times are tough, and Gertrude's financial needs cause her to make this arrangement before realizing how the burden will push her unstable nature to a breaking point. What transpires in the next three months is both riveting and horrific, leaving one child dead and the rest scarred for life. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The true story of a child's punishment that became a woman's crime. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong and disturbing depiction of child abuse and torture | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 December 2007 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

The Basement  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ellen Page literally starved herself for her role as Sylvia. When director Tommy O'Haver noticed she was looking thinner, he asked her if she was eating and she replied "No, because Sylvia wasn't being fed." See more »

Goofs

At one point during a punishment scene, the shot changes to the neighbors outside, and a fan is visible in an open window. The shot returns to the same view a moment later, but the window is closed, the curtains are drawn, and no fan is visible. See more »

Quotes

Ricky Hobbs: [sees her "escaping"] Sylvia.
Sylvia Likens: [sobbing, whimpering and cringing as he comes near her] No, no, please. Please don't, please.
Ricky Hobbs: No, no, no, I'm not gonna hurt you. I swear to God, I promise, I promise. Look, I'm sorry. I didn't know what the hell I was doing, all right? Look, you gotta believe me, please. Please. You wanna get out of here? You wanna go? Let's go.
[helps Sylvia up]
Ricky Hobbs: Come on. You're all right.
[they go to the car and Ricky gets in after helping Sylvia in]
Ricky Hobbs: Where are we going?
Sylvia Likens: [...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The final credit states "Sylvia Likens, 1949-1965". See more »

Connections

Featured in The 60th Primetime Emmy Awards (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Rules of Love
Written by Kal Mann and Dave Appell
Performed by The Orlons
Courtesy of ABKCO Music & Records, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
An American Crime vs. Girl Next Door
30 May 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

First of all someone said " The Girl Next Door" wasn't based on actual events .You'd have to be oblivious not to see it's based on this case with some minor changes.

I feel that The Girl Next Door is a much more disturbing film then An American Crime because the degree of abuse is much more accurate in relation to what happened in real life.

Also I was somewhat disturbed that the the director tried to show Gertrude in a somewhat sympathetic light as if he was trying to make some sort of feminist statement that Gertrude was a victim of 50's male oppression.In reality she was a sexual sadist of unspeakable proportions.


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The most evil of them all Fleurus
The Baniszewski kids should be haunted by Sylvia's face forever davidjrichardson73
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